I often receive calls from clients regarding how to sell their house as a “for sale by owner” (FSBO). Clients can often save themselves money if they are able to find a buyer for their property on their own. However, caution should be taken when doing so to ensure that you receive a fair price for your property and the transaction is done correctly.
Residential Property Seller Disclosure StatementsIn Iowa residential transactions, Sellers need to provide Buyers with a Residential Property Seller Disclosure Statement in which a Seller discloses any and all defects to the property that are known by the Seller. Iowa law requires this so Buyers have full knowledge of any defects regarding the property. There are simple disclosure forms available to use which go over items including, but not limited to, the basement, roof, heating and cooling systems, plumbing, electrical systems, and septic system. It is important the Seller disclose in full any defects because if Seller does not disclose the Seller could be held liable down the road after the sale for non-disclosure.
In Iowa, there is naturally occurring radon that comes up through foundations. Iowa law requires that Sellers provide Buyers a Radon Fact Sheet to alert Buyers there may be radon issues in the property. Additionally, if your property was built before 1979, a Seller needs to provide Buyer a Lead-Based Paint Disclosure. This disclosure states the Sellers’ knowledge of any lead-based paint on the property. It is important to provide all of the above disclosures to a potential Buyer to ensure any purchase agreement is enforceable.
Buyer Beware: Property InspectionsAs a Buyer there are certain things you can do to protect yourself as well. A Buyer should of course make a thorough inspection of the property themselves. However, if you are not a professional in inspecting properties you may want to hire an expert qualified in inspecting real estate to review the property for defects as well. A radon test may also be required in a purchase agreement. As radon is odorless and undetectable by the naked eye, it oftentimes makes sense to have this test done to ensure radon levels on the property are at an acceptable level. If desired, inspection rights and radon testing rights should be written into any purchase agreement.
The above items are just some items a Buyer and Seller need to think about when negotiating without the assistance of a realtor. With all this said, if you are uncomfortable going it alone on the sale of your property, a qualified attorney and/or a qualified realtor would be of great assistance to you in this major transaction.
About Hopkins & Huebner, P.C. Our real estate attorneys are here to guide you through any real estate issues you may experience. The Real Estate group at Hopkins and Huebner, P.C. represents both individual and commercial clients in all proceedings and transactions dealing with real estate, property law and transactions, legal disputes, and other related matters.
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